Visage de Marguerite en grisaille. Esquisse. (Portrait of [the Artist's Mother,] Marguerite, in monochrome. Study.) c.1900. Pencil and oil on canvas. 19 3/4 x 15 3/4 (frame 25 x 21). Signed and monogrammed, lower right. Partial label, verso: "Galeries, 19 Rue Caumartin, Paris". In 1900, 1900 Carrière's first solo exhibition took place at the Galerie des Artistes Modernes (19 Rue Caumartin). $5,000.
Eugène Carrière was a French Symbolist artist of the Fin de siècle period. His paintings are best known for their brown monochrome palette. He was a close friend of the sculptor Rodin and his work influenced Picasso.
He was born at Gournay-sur-Marne (Seine-Saint-Denis). He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and later under Cabanel. During the Franco-Prussian War he passed some time as a prisoner in Dresden, where the art of Rubens made a lasting impression on him, as may be seen in the glowing colors of his early paintings.
On his return to Paris he began working on the first of his mother images. Having married in 1877, Carriere was recommended by his lithographer to travel to London were he was given contacts with other publishing houses. He returned in less than a year penniless and having to support his wife. It was at this time whilst living in a small room in Paris that he completed a series of works involving little or no colour and which used in its place planes of light to create the image that he wanted.
About 1890 he adopted the gray, misty-color scheme with contrasts of light and shadow that characterize his art. His themes usually are scenes of his domestic life, and he repeatedly introduced the likeness of his wife in his paintings. The first of these, The Young Mother (1879), is now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen.
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